The High Line

I’ve wanted to check out the High Line ever since first reading about it in Erin’s Single-ish blog post “Playing Tourist in Your Own Town.” An abandoned elevated urban railway saved from demolition and turned into a public park and art space? Cool.

New York is not my town for playing tourist, but the High Line I knew I had to check out. Especially after seeing these riffs by comics artist and The New Yorker cover illustrator Adrian Tomine and art director and graphic designer Vahram Muratyan. (Love the work of both these guys.)

Adrian Tomine, “High and Low, The New Yorker,
September 7, 2009

Vahram Muratyan, La Réinvention,
Paris Versus New York, A Tally of Two Cities

book and blog, October 3, 2011

Last time I was in New York just visiting friends and hanging out, though, it was December. On the day I meant to take the subway and walk over to the HL, I stepped out onto the avenues with snow flurries skittering down the sidewalks and—to my California self—arctic winds whistling down the brick and concrete canyons, and thought, Who am I kidding?! (So I went to the Guggenheim and stayed warm instead.)

Still, that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to stroll the High Line someday and explore it from end to end. In sunny, balmy weather. When there’s room to move beyond more than a shuffle and space on the grass to loll around.

I love the idea of a park in the sky, high above the urban grit, as well as the idea that where once the derelict tracks were overgrown with weeds, there now grow beautiful flowers.

Before. Joel Sternfeld, A Railroad Artifact, 30th Street,
May 2000

After. Echinacea purpurea plantings. Anybody recognize
the spikes of lithe purple flowers in the background?

Now I’m just waiting for Jorge Colombo (who, like Tomine, has illustrated covers for The New Yorker) to deliver his own take on the High Line via the iPhone Brushes app he uses for his 20×200 prints. It’s bound to happen.

Have you ever been to the High Line? If so, what do you recommend seeking or doing there? Have you walked along the Promenade Plantée in Paris?

Related: “New York’s High Line” (National Geographic, April 2011)

(Top and grass photos via The High Line; echinacea photo by SpecialKRB on Flickr, via The High Line)

Update: Could the High Line work in Los Angeles?


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